Producers urge lawmakers to support farmworker bill
PEACH BOTTOM, Pa. — Graywood Farms, a member of Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association, underscored the need for agriculture labor reform during an immigration roundtable held this week.
The event, entitled “Lower Food Prices, Keep Shelves Stocked: Common Sense Solutions to Pennsylvania’s Farm Labor Shortage” called attention to the urgency of fixing the nation’s farm labor shortage by passing federal agriculture workforce solutions.
“Our family dairy farm would not be here without immigrant labor,” said Lisa Graybeal, managing partner of Graywood Farms, who hosted the event.
“Without reliable, year-round labor, we will be importing our food. The issue of food security should be bipartisan. And that means giving farmers a realistic H-2A farmworker program that is bipartisan.”
The roundtable was held in conjunction with the American Business Immigration Coalition Action (ABIC Action), the International Fresh Produce Association, Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, Pennsylvania Vegetable Growers Association, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, Adams County Nursery, and Manor View Farm.
“Our farm relies on an immigrant workforce who is dedicated to excelling in their jobs,” said Matt Hoff, a farmer from New Windsor, Maryland, and member of the MDVA Board of Directors.
“The current H-2A farmworker program is unworkable for dairy’s year-round needs. Congress must take action to reform our H-2A farmworker program to keep family-owned farms like mine producing safe, affordable, and nutritious dairy products for our local communities.”
In 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Farm Workforce Modernization Act with bipartisan support. Sens. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, and Mike Bennet, D-Colo., have taken the lead on negotiating improvements on the House’s solutions and moving the process forward. If no action is taken, the bill will expire at the end of the year.
Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative is a community of more than 900 dairy farm families in 10 states.
The farmer-owned cooperative owns five dairy processing plants that process more than three billion pounds of milk yearly.